Showing posts with label crystal meth. Show all posts
Showing posts with label crystal meth. Show all posts

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Kickin' the Meth Habit!

via sfgate, by Erin Allday

Methamphetamine addicts who took an antidepressant medication every day were far less dependent on the drug after three months than those who took a placebo, according to a study released Monday by the San Francisco Public Health Department.

Addiction treatment experts said the findings were encouraging, especially given how notoriously difficult it can be to help methamphetamine addicts kick their dependence.

But they added that the results will need to be confirmed in larger studies.

Researchers have for years been trying to find a drug to help alleviate dependency on methamphetamine, much as methadone can be used to help people quit heroin, but multiple studies of many different drugs have failed.

Addiction experts said they're cautiously optimistic that the antidepressant mirtazapine, sold under the brand name Remeron, will prove useful.

"This is exciting to see because with methamphetamine, virtually everything we've tried hasn't worked. There have been quite a few bombs pharmacologically," said Keith Humphreys, a Stanford psychiatry professor and a researcher at the Veterans Administration in Palo Alto who specializes in addiction. "At the same time, those earlier experiences have taught me to be cautious now."

Addiction on the rise

More than 1 million people in the United States use methamphetamine every year, and the nation has seen a resurgence in addiction to the drug in recent years, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

In San Francisco, among people who seek treatment for drug dependence, about 11 percent are abusing methamphetamine, according to the health department.

The study, results of which were published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, was run by Dr. Grant Colfax, director of HIV prevention at the Public Health Department.

His interest in treating methamphetamine addiction stems from the close connection between abuse of the drug and exposure to HIV infection.

Effects of methamphetamine include lowered inhibitions and increased feelings of invulnerability, which in turn can lead to risky sex behaviors like having unprotected sex or sex with multiple partners.

Regular use of methamphetamines among men who have sex with men can double the risk of HIV infection, Colfax said.


Read the rest

Friday, August 5, 2011

Young gay meth users more likely to be exposed to HIV

via Pink News, By Jessica Geen

Young gay and bisexual men who use methamphetamine are more likely to be exposed to HIV, research suggests.

Most studies on the issue focus on older gay men, but the latest research suggests a link between use of the drug and risky sexual behaviour which can lead to HIV infection.

Researchers at the Northwestern University in Chicago looked at data collected in 2005 and 2006 on 595 gay and bisexual men aged between 12 and 24 in eight US cities.

The 64 who said they had used methamphetamine in the last three months were substantially more likely to have been involved in risky sexual behaviour.

Read more.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Mark S. King: Can I blame gay culture for my drug addiction, please?

via My Fabulous Disease, by Mark S. King

After a lifetime of sporadic, recreational drug use, I became a full-blown crystal meth addict ten years ago, and then eventually got clean and sober in January of 2009. But why would I, or anyone as engaged in life as I was, morph into a drug addict?

It seemed an unlikely turn of events for a gay advocate and outspoken community leader living with HIV. Was my drug addiction some sort of post-traumatic stress from the AIDS horror show of the 1980’s?

Maybe it pre-dated AIDS, and resulted from the stress and shame of growing up gay. It’s easy to understand why anyone who came of age believing they were perverted (and going straight to hell) might need a stiff drink. Research indicates that gay men and lesbians are more likely to smoke, drink and use drugs. Was I born this way, GaGa?

Gay Men and Substance abuseSo I was immediately drawn to the new book, Gay Men and Substance Abuse: A Basic Guide for Addicts and Those Who Care for Them. I thought the book might bolster my hypothesis that I was a victim of gay culture and doomed from the start.

Because, my dear friends, even after more than two years living clean and sober, I still jump at the chance of blaming my behavior on something other than myself.

Alas, the book is a helpful, informative guide but it doesn’t let me off the hook. It hasn’t the least bit of interest in finger pointing. Instead, it offers practical information and advice about addiction, treatment, relapse and recovery – written specifically for gay men and their families. I would strongly recommend it for gay lovers or allies trying to understand the addiction and recovery process, and required reading for those working in the field.

Read the rest.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

How America Turned into a Nation of Speedfreaks and Ritalin Patients

via AlterNet

An excerpt from Mick Farren's new book exploring the drug that dominates the lives of millions of schoolchildren, soldiers on the battlefield and freelance writers.

The event of rock & roll added a frenetic thrashing drive to the world's entertainment, and television warped the world's perception. The twentieth century was an era of massive overreaching that culminated in us pushing our planet to the very edge of environmental catastrophe, as melting icecaps change the course of the ocean tides. The twentieth century was also a time of scarcely believable greed and all too grandiose dreams. The developed nations of the West demanded more and more, and we grew furious if TV commercials reneged on their promises and we couldn't instantly have it all. The West grew fat even as famines decimated developing nations. We burned energy as if there was no tomorrow, and in so doing, made tomorrow considerably more problematic. And this was where speed found its place, introducing itself to greedy dreams on all levels of twentieth-century culture with seductive assurances of free additional energy, enhancing stamina that enabled users to keep going like the bunny in battery commercial, and feel a euphoric omnipotence as the need to eat, sleep, or even feel anything unwontedly profound were removed by the insulating effects of amphetamine. One could even lose radical weight with no effort of will, and become fashionably slim. Adolf Hitler's doctor shot him up with cocktails of speed and the devil only knew what else, as he designed the blitzkrieg, in his greed for the absolute power he believed would enable him to annex the entire planet for his master race, and organized the deaths of tens of millions. 
Read the rest.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

"In my brief moments of clarity I knew my life was supposed to be better than this"

"But I believe in people's ability to change."

Gay City Health's Jordan Duran (Seattle) tells his story of leaving a serious meth addiction and turning his life around. In the Seattle Times
  
A must read.

One major annoyance - the headline - "Meth use among young gay men remains a pervasive problem." The article goes on to say that "studies show that about one out of 10 gay or bisexual men in King County uses crystal meth in any give year"- which means that a full NINETY PERCENT of gay and bi men in King County DON'T USE METH. The stories of our brothers brought down hard by this drug are important and real - and they need and deserve our love and support - but we don't need to make this problem bigger than it is - "pervasive" in our minds implies more than one in ten. Yes, ten percent is a big deal, it's a big deal for guys like Jordan and our friends who run into serious meth trouble, but 90% of us NOT using is a BFD too. Do we ever tell THAT story? Can't tell you how many times we have to argue with folks who say things like "the majority of gay men use meth" because of headlines like this,, their less than careful reading of the statistics that show "majority" is not at all accurate, and their sort of sick desire to see gay men only as damaged beings in need of fixin'.

Anyhow.

A highlight of this post is this from Jordan's father in the comments section (which unfortunately does have a fair amount of pure idiots posting.) Here it is:
So I sit here and read this article, and I smile. I just think of how very strong this young man is and was, in the midst of a destructive time in his life, how does a person have the ability to escape the hold that a dangerous drug like meth can have on them? It does'nt matter if a kid has a "good" childhood or comes from a "good' family, drugs don't discriminate! As far as homosexuality...meth does'nt know a gay man from a heterosexual one! What I do know is this; our life was'nt the easiest, the kid's were deprived of alot of things that all their friends had, and usually took for granted. But this makes me smile because Jordan Duran is my son, and my love for him is unconditional...I don't care what other people say because I know what he's been through, and I know that he was strong enough to fight his way out as far as the drugs go. Now the only thing I worry about is that I can't see him as much as I'd like to, but only because I live far away! So keep on educating people and telling your story son, You know I'm in your corner!! Love 'ya kid...Dad 
And we love you too Dad!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Revised, updated version of "Dancing with Tina" right here, on LifeLube

Chicago's Terry Oldes has updated his "Dancing with Tina" memoir, and we have the full manuscript on LifeLube.

This book is a testament of such compassionate understanding. It neither glorifies nor plays down meth abuse. Instead, it is a matter of fact recount, neither too clinical nor too sympathetic, that tells it like it is with an integrity and honesty that make the story both more horrific and endearing to read. - Out in Perth


I danced with TINA for over a year. Sometimes to a soothing waltz, more often than not a frenzied Charleston that would‘ve made Fred and Ginger cross-eyed. A sensual tango occasionally unfolded with any number of dancers, but at the end of it all, I was left with the slow, side-to-side swaying of emptiness. Of course, TINA always led. All I could do was follow and hope to keep up with her steps.

This is basically a story of three things, co-dependency, coming out and drug abuse. By walking away from co-dependency, I realized I‘d never completely explored gay life, even though I‘d been out for sixteen years. I thought I‘d been around the block, but not really. The drug abuse was a crutch, helping my inhibitions disappear, bringing on all sorts of adventures. Eventually, I came to see that my co-dependency to the drug was as serious as that to people.

Let me make this clear…the Crystal Meth world depicted in this memoir is a sub-culture of the gay community in Chicago (and most other gay urban cities,) not a reflection of the gay community as a whole. One acquaintance of mine, a rather odd man obsessed with Bob Mackie, of all things, negatively made the comment I shouldn‘t be writing down these experiences, he thought they depicted all gay men in a bad light and shouldn‘t be discussed. Well, until something is faced head on with truth, it can‘t be dealt with or even understood. To hell with sweeping such things under the carpet and ignoring them…they exist.
Click here for the whole thing.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Mark S. King Unleashes MyFabulousDisease.com

A year ago I didn't know what a blog was.
Now I am one.
Who knew?

The same amusingly whacked world view that Mark S. King has brought to his popular video series on TheBody.com has now been unleashed on his own live blog. www.MyFabulousDisease.com covers his life as an HIV-positive gay man, including his recovery from meth addiction and struggle to find the ultimate drag number

"If you believe, as I do, that laughter builds t-cells, please come check me out. Since I'm monogamous these days, I figure I can at least get my lover jealous with all the fan mail," he says.

Mark has been an outspoken advocate for those living with HIV since testing positive in 1985. He recounts those early years in Los Angeles in his achingly funny, poignant memoir "A Place Like This," which covers everything from Hollywood acting to owning a phone sex company and winning a car on The Price is Right.

Friday, March 5, 2010

ENCORE - Crystal Meth Uncensored: What the DEA and the Gay Media Won't Tell You

The most addictive drug is the one
you are addicted to.

Way back in June of 2007, the Chicago Crystal Meth Task Force (now the Chicago Task Force on LGBT Substance Use and Abuse) hosted meth expert Susan Kingston for a talk at the Center on Halsted.



Susan is an Educator Consultant with the Drug Use and HIV Prevention Team at Public Health – Seattle & King County and the former Director of Prevention at Stonewall Recovery Services. For ten years, she has worked primarily with gay and bisexual methamphetamine users as both a drug use and harm reduction counselor and as the coordinator of the region’s largest HIV prevention program targeting methamphetamine users. Currently she consults on several research, community intervention and treatment expansion projects related to methamphetamine in the Seattle area and guides lgbt substance use programming at Public Health. She is also a consultant to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime on efforts regarding prevention of global methamphetamine abuse.

Her (remarkable) remarks begin here (Section 1 of 5), on LifeLube.

Click here for the 2nd installment

Click here for the 3rd installment

Click here for the 4th installment

Click here for the 5th and final...

Click here for her full remarks, all in one place (PDF). 



There has been a titch of renewed  hysteria (and lots of discussion) regarding crystal meth use - so LifeLube thought it a good time to share Susan's remarks again.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Um, meth does not equal death, m'kay?

Letter to the Editor, via Windy City Times


Meth madness

2010-02-24

To the editor:

We are writing to counter the recurring and disturbing community discussion of crystal-meth use by gay men in Chicago.

The unfortunate and inaccurate message that "Meth = Death" characterizes this discussion.

Fact: Approximately 90 percent to 95 percent of gay men in Chicago don't use crystal methamphetamine.

Fact: Health Department research indicates that crystal use has decreased. Among hundreds of men surveyed, 4 percent said they recently used it ( as compared to 10 percent of those surveyed five years ago ) .
Fact: National and local data indicate that only a minority of people who try a drug, including potent drugs like methamphetamine, go on to become regular users and/or dependent.

Fact: Of the small ( but important nonetheless ) percentage of Chicago gay men who are addicted to crystal, and are experiencing health and financial crises, relationship problems, and legal difficulties, most of them won't die.

Meth does not equal death.

Should we continue to challenge the allure of substances and behaviors that keep us as a community from being our best? Yes. Should we promote messaging that seeks to promote health and wellness? Yes. Can we have community dialogue and get each others‚ attention without over sensationalizing? We can and we must.

Why not emphasize our community's courage and resilience in spending the past five years tackling this issue and our accomplishments in reducing use?

Misleading and deceptive communications on such an important matter do not serve our collective physical, mental, spiritual or sexual health needs. They don't enlighten. Telling the truth is essential, involves nuance, and our community deserves no less.

For those who use the drug problematically, treatment is available and recovery is possible. Chicago has a wealth of resources to help gay men addicted to crystal, including programs at Howard Brown Health Center, Haymarket Center and Valeo at Lakeshore Hospital. Additionally, there are groups like Crystal Meth Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous that offer important support to people who want to get and stay sober.

Crystal meth is an issue of concern for those who use the drug, for those who love them, and for the community which is their home. Chicago remains committed to helping these people receive the support they need to minimize harms, reduce use or quit altogether.

Signed,
Project CRYSP ( LifeLube's momma)
projectcrysp@gmail.com

-------

Also in the Windy City Times, another item of interest:
Drug Task Force Starts Website


In a meeting held Feb. 17 at the Chicago Department of Public Health ( CDPH ) , 333 S. State, the Chicago Task Force on LGBT Substance Use and Abuse announced that it has started a Web site that functions as an information repository.

The Web site, www.ChicagoLGBTSubstance.com , has several pages, including "Body, Mind, & Soul," which discusses emotional and mental health in addition to the physical; "Substances," which tackles alcohol, opiates and tobacco, among other drugs; and "Chicago Services," which provides a list of references and agencies that aid in drug treatment, but which also includes a chat room.

Read the rest.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bluebelly harm reduction from Down Under

Bluebelly / blue.bel.ly / n.
1. slang term for meth/amphetamine.
2. a diverse community of interested individuals seeking to gather and deliver high quality harm-reduction information.




Bluebelly is a collaborative, harm-reduction project from Down Under that aims to gather and provide concise, relevant information about amphetamine-type stimulants for people of all backgrounds/identities.

Check out the following example of clear, no-nonsense, user-friendly info from their wiki/website blend:

Drug Combinations

People combine drugs for a range of reasons including:

- Potentiation of pleasurable effects

- To mitigate the unpleasurable effects of another drug

- To achieve separate but simultaneous effects.
    While combining particular drugs can prove to be a pleasurable experience for people, in some instances it can be highly dangerous. It should also be stated that different people will respond differently to different drugs and drug combinations, and the same person can have a different response on different occasions.

    The table found here provides a summary of some known drug combinations and possible implications.


    Monday, January 25, 2010

    "I Lost My Impulse For Self-Preservation"

    This powerful testimonial comes via Atlantic Online, a reader writes to The Daily Dish


    Excerpt:


    Eventually, I partied with nothing but meth. I lost my job on Wall Street and used my severance package to live a life of meth and sex. Meth gave me the artificial delusion that I was deeply and passionately connected to my sexual partners - a feeling I found nearly impossible to feel when I was sober. And even if I got rejected while on meth, I didn't feel it. I could move on to my next partner and any rejection was a distant memory. Meth freed me from those nagging feelings of self-doubt and self-hatred I had suffered since I was a child. It was far more powerful and seemingly effective than years of therapy and anti-depressants.
    Read the whole item.

    Wednesday, January 13, 2010

    Sayonara crystal?


    Have Gay Men Conquered The Crystal Menace?
    via The Daily Dish, by Andrew Sullivan

    This kind of success story doesn't get much media play - certainly not as much as hysterical stories about "Super-AIDS" (remember that in the NYT?) or diagnoses of dysfunction and gloom among gay men. But it's real. And it makes me proud of my community, and its capacity to drag itself out of trouble with tenacity and compassion.

    Read the rest.

    [ps - this article talks about decreased rates of crystal meth use among gay men in ny and la - but, fyi, rates in chicago have also fallen]

    Wednesday, November 18, 2009

    C-Talk - For guys who have used drugs and love sex

    CHICAGO

    Come to a ten-week group focused on healthy sexuality for men who have used cocaine and crystal meth.



    This is a research study conducted by the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and Howard Brown Health Center to see if groups like this one can help men develop a healthier sense of sexuality that doesn't always depend on using drugs.

    For more info, please contact
    nicolep@howardbrown.org or call 773-388-8872

    Thursday, September 3, 2009

    The "Work In" - My Past Life

    Ed Negron, a former drug user, turned gangbanger, turned drug dealer, turned own best customer, turned addict, turned recovering addict (still there), turned activist, turned business manager, turned student, turned Substance Abuse Counselor, turned better and happier person, turned someone who can love and be loved (Love you Patrick), turned blogger. Check out Ed's own blog here.

    Featured Every Thursday on LifeLube (though he has been on va-k for awhile) --- check out all of Ed's "Work-In's" here.


    September is National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month

    The 2009 theme, “Join the Voices for Recovery: Together We Learn, Together We Heal,”

    “The Recovery Month observance highlights the societal benefits of substance abuse treatment, lauds the contributions of treatment providers and promotes the message that recovery from substance abuse in all its forms is possible. The observance also encourages citizens to take action to help expand and improve the availability of effective substance abuse treatment for those in need. Each year a new theme, or emphasis, is selected for the observance.”

    RecoveryMonth.gov

    I figured what better way to kick off Recovery Month and the return of the Work-in posts than by sharing my story of recovery.



    My Past Life

    Part 1 of 2

    I began drinking at an early age at family parties. The adults would give the kids a sip of their drinks thinking it cute to see us act like a drunken fools. They would laugh about it without thinking about the consequences it might have on a child. By the time I was seven or eight years old I had been drinking regularly and started smoking marijuana. My family lived on top of a halfway house, today known as re-entry programs, where convicts released from prison would live out their parole. My sister and I would run errands for them and they’d pay us with joints. I began going to house parties where kids would steal liquor from their parents and hang out getting plastered all day while the parents where at work.

    In eighth grade, we moved next door to a liquor store. I became friends with the owner and he gave me a job as stock boy. I would steal little bottles of Bacardi; Puerto Rican Rum (dark). So in school I was the shit- because I would always come to school with alcohol. I smoked cocaine with my grandfather for the first time at the age of thirteen, but hated it. In high school my using began to escalate. My mom was a single parent with four kids of her own —and a foster parent. At one point, we had 13 people living in a three-bedroom apartment and my mother couldn’t support us all. At fourteen years old I joined a gang so that I would be able to sell drugs to support my habit and gave any left over money to my mom.

    I was kicked out of my high school half way through my freshman year and sent to an alternative high school for the “bad” kids. That’s when I got into PCP, (Phencyclidine is classified as a hallucinogen and has many of the same effects as LSD, but can be much more dangerous.) I loved the hallucination and the feeling of being in my own not-so-little world. It started off as just curiosity but then I just enjoyed the high way too much. I start selling “happy sticks” so I could smoke my PCP everyday. Along with all the other drugs I used.

    I want to add that during all this drug use I was also, as every other queer kid growing up, struggling with my sexuality. Dating girls and having sex with boys. At sixteen I thought I came to terms with my bisexuality. I loved having sex with both women and men, and I still do, but of course I couldn’t let my family or friends know this. But this is a whole other story. I’ll get back to it later.

    In my senior year, I stopped using drugs (but I still drank) because I wanted to join the military. I even made the honor roll, which totally blew me away. The alternative school was a blessing; Chicago needs more of them. After graduation, I joined the Army Reserves and served six years (1989-1995). My time in basic training in the Army was the best time of my life. This was the first time in my life that I knew what it felt like to truly believe in myself. I was pushed to my limits and beyond; and I succeeded.

    During that time I married a woman, knowing that I shouldn’t have. After three years, we knew it wasn’t working and we divorced in 1993. I started exploring my sexuality more and I went to places like Berlin. I started dating this bisexual woman, Heather, who helped me tap into my bisexual side. I moved to Boystown, Chicago’s Gayborhood, and that’s when my drug use started again. When I first started going around the bars and meeting new people, the first things I learned were where the best places to party were, the best places for sex, and where the drugs were.

    Drugs were everywhere. Of course, I saw the opportunity to make money, and get high while doing it. Within three months I was selling ounces of cocaine every other day. I was making good money, but I was spending it just as quick as I made it on buying more drugs, and crap I didn’t need, but just wanted. It was easy money; easy come easy go.

    I was free. I was out there with gay men, doing what I thought were normal things. I was sitting on top of the world. Then that “one night” came. I did meth at an after-hours party for the first time. For me, crystal meth was a taboo drug, like heroin. There was a tray being passed around. I was told that it was cocaine. I took a bump of it and it burned like hell. I knew that it wasn’t coke and one of my friends told me that it was meth. I was so pissed at first, but felt so good after a while. I was sold.

    A couple weeks later I met this guy who was a hardcore meth user. His excuse for taking meth was that it calmed down the side effects of his HIV medications. I didn’t believe him, but he was cute, so I didn’t care. So I ended up selling more drugs to support both our meth habits. But it got to the point that, for months, I didn’t know what it was like to be sober or without any chemicals in my system. Of course the relationship with him didn’t last, but my relationship with meth kept going strong. I was living with a friend and doing more drugs than I was selling. I became my best customer. I was paranoid most the time; I always thought that someone was watching me or was after my drugs. I wouldn’t even trust my clients. I couldn’t even have sex any more, I would rather get high. That was a scary way to live, but I couldn’t escape it. The drugs were controlling me now.


    In the last month of my past life, I couldn’t even breathe out of my nose. I would take a bump and it would fall right back out. When I started hallucinating that my mom was dead and her spirit was talking to me, that’s when the reality set in that I was fucked up. But I still couldn’t stop using. I would spend my nights crying and praying for someone to help me stop.

    Then came the last day, I was making a sale with a former client. I woke up that morning with the feeling that today was the day I was going to get arrested. Was it just my paranoia, or was the universe telling me something? Was it was my greed and addiction, or my wanting to stop using that made me go to a drop off spot? I drove over to a Lakeview restaurant, made the transaction without any problems, figured it was just my paranoia, and left. As soon as I got into my car, it was like the whole police district just walked over to get me. I had this look on my face like, “Thank God it’s over.” It was like a higher power said, “You’re not stopping on your own? I’ll fix that.”


    This was beginning of the end of my past life.



    To read daily motivations visit my blog at thework-in.blogspot.com or to receive daily motivations via email join our Google group Back To The Basics Please .

    If you are not sure how to begin your work-in or need some guidance please feel free to post a comment or email me directly at thework-in@hotmail.com, I will response as soon as I can.

    (Usual disclaimer applies: The suggestions on this blog are just that “SUGGESTIONS.” My words cannot heal your pain and or addictions. Nor can I change your life. Only you can.)

    “Every time you don't follow your inner guidance, you feel a loss of energy, loss of power, a sense of spiritual deadness." -- Shakti Gawain

    Monday, June 29, 2009

    For guys who have used drugs and love sex...

    CHICAGO

    Come to a ten-week group focused on healthy sexuality for men who have used cocaine and crystal meth.

    This is a research study conducted by the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and Howard Brown Health Center to see if groups like this one can help men develop a healthier sense of sexuality that doesn't always depend on using drugs.

    For more info, please contact
    nicolep@howardbrown.org or call 773-388-8872

    Monday, June 22, 2009

    C-Talk - For guys who have used drugs and love sex

    CHICAGO

    Come to a ten-week group focused on healthy sexuality for men who have used cocaine and crystal meth.

    This is a research study conducted by the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and Howard Brown Health Center to see if groups like this one can help men develop a healthier sense of sexuality that doesn't always depend on using drugs.

    For more info, please contact
    nicolep@howardbrown.org or call 773-388-8872

    Monday, April 27, 2009

    How is Mark S. King healthy?



    Being healthy means not allowing destructive instincts to rule my life anymore.

    For years I got high with the party crowd, believing that getting validation at a smokey bar and a strangers bed brought me happiness. Nothing was ever enough, and I eventually abandoned "dance floor drugs" for crystal meth from a pipe and then into my arm. All the while, I thought exhaustion meant I was having fun, that friends were the ones with more favors, and men were measured by what they kept in their pants.

    Today I work to be honest. It's an unbelievable thrill not to worry about hiding any more. I sleep normal hours, take my HIV medications without fail, and value my friends enough to actually show up when we plan time together. I've regained my sense of humor -- it's amazing how much laughter there is when misery falls away!

    It's been a long road, and I've even had to re-learn sex without the aid (and hindrance) of drugs. For months, I had no sex at all because it brought back too many memories of using. Today, my sexual behavior is based on caring for my partner and not denigrating him or myself.

    Helping others has been a huge part of the equation, because it gets me out of my head and feels so damn good. I've written a book about the early days of AIDS in Los Angeles, written a musical about recovery, and contribute a video blog to a large HIV web site. Just being a productive human being with something to contribute is a gift beyond measure.

    For you, my friends, please be well.

    -- Mark S. King
    Atlanta


    How are you healthy?
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    Tell us HERE. Send a pic to the same place.
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